Upgrading an aging PC is a bit of a crapshoot. Sure, a faster processor or GPU, more memory, or a solid state drive can significantly speed up a system. But figuring out which upgrade will yield the biggest performance increase depends on your particular use case and other bottlenecks in the rig.
Stories by Marco Chiappetta
The Macintosh has influenced me in countless ways over the years. I was first introduced to computers way back in 1983, when I encountered a Commodore 64 at a friend's house.
Ever since Microsoft released Windows Vista, all Windows PCs have included a benchmark tool called the Windows Experience Index, which gives you a quick look at how well you can expect the system to handle basic Windows tasks, Aero graphics, more-demanding applications, games, and more. Hitting the overall maximum score--7.9, at the time of this writing--isn't easy without investing in a lot of expensive, specialized hardware, but we've found a PC build that you can tweak to reach 7.8 overall (with a 7.9 in every category except processor speed) for about $1000.